By Allen David
The headline in today’s Press-Enterprise reads, “UCR scientist cures potato chip disease,” and there’s no shame in admitting your confusion. Hell, I’m confused . . . that is, you know, a little . . . having never heard of “potato chip disease.” But having written headlines myself, I’m thinking somebody on the desk is trying to be funny, that potato chip disease is a euphemism for . . . let’s say . . . compulsive eating . . . or cardiac infarction . . . or zits! Nope. Turns out, it’s a potato plant disease, which lays (catch that?) waste to the types of potatoes typically used for bags of chips. The disease comes courtesy of Candidatis Liberibacter. You get it, don’t you? Candidatis Liberibacter? The bacterium? The bacterium carried by the potato-tomato psyllid? Yes, the potato-tomato psyllid! C’mon, the tiny flying insect that has periodically shown up in the fields of United States farmers for something like a century? My god . . . I have never felt so alone.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4
What? No more Angels games this year? That 12-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners last night—that was the final game of the season? Isn’t anybody going to answer me? Hello! Hello! Is anybody out there?
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5
Officials of the South Coast Air Quality Management District advocate spending $17.4 million to build a nine-city network of paved pathways in the Coachella Valley for golf carts, bicyclists and pedestrians. Golf carts? That’s almost one-third of the $50 million in grant money accumulated as mitigation for the construction of power plant near Desert Hot Springs. The SCAQMD also recommended spending $14 million to pay for solar and wind power installations, $4.4 million for classroom air filters and $6 million for paving dirt roads. “These innovative measures will help improve air quality and protect public health in the Coachella Valley,” said Barry Wallerstein, the air district’s executive officer, in a news release. “They also will create jobs and contribute to community improvements in the area.” Wallerstein’s comments were meant to refer to all the projects, but . . . uhhh . . . he was miming a golf swing as he spoke.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6
As burglaries rise in residences across Big Bear Valley, the residents and property owners around Fawnskin—the weirdly named town on Big Bear Lake’s north shore—decide they’re tired of being suckers. They resolve to find out what parts they might be qualified to play in this real-life crime drama—besides the role of hapless sucker, which they are sick of—although, I must say that they have become so accomplished and convincing in the parts that . . . well . . . they really do seem to have been born to play it. True to their word, this afternoon about 60 of these people make the effort to get up and out of their homes, crowding into the Fawnskin Fire Station. They sit there for a couple of hours, listening as deputies from the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station give information on the crimes as well as steps to prevent the burglaries and to help law enforcement capture the criminals . . . and suddenly I’m wondering how many people know they’re not home … and then I just shake my head and smile, wondering whether there’s a chance they’ve given a thought to any of this. Wow! They are truly excellent in this role.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7
With his hair cut in a way that totally makes him look stuck up, Steve Nash had five points and three assists in his Lakers debut—a lopsided 110-803 loss to the Golden State Warriors in an exhibition game that the announcers were totally blowing out of proportion. My reaction? It’s hard to know what to actually take from a game like this. Besides, I just said the haircut makes him look stuck up.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 8
If its definition of the word were changed to something as mischievously sexy as it sounds, I’d love to tell people that I’ve been “burgled.”
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9
Through a series of unlikely incidents and happy accidents, there are people who currently find themselves in a situation that will soon have them flying to Hawaii and staying a week. That’s what I imagine it feels like to be burgled. I’ll tell you what it’s actually like when I get home in a week.